Mindful Communication is a skill that all of us need. From relationships to everyday conversation to effective communication for managers in the workplace.
Mindful communication relates to interpersonal skills that can be learned (I say learned because it often does not come naturally to most of us).
This skill applies to many different situations including business meetings, arguments, general conversation, etc. When you practice this skill, you learn how to stay calm and focused and communicate properly as well as effectively during stressful times.
You also gain the ability to speak your mind while being mindful and showing care towards others’ feelings.
The role of mindfulness in mindful communication is important and it begins, like with any other mindfulness practice, with simply noticing your emotional state.
You become more aware of your emotions and how you communicate. This leads to increased awareness and insight into yourself and others.
Mindful communication can be rather confronting as it can bring us face to face with our anxieties regarding relationships. Many people struggle to communicate effectively, especially within relationships, mostly because they fear how the person will receive their information through a certain reaction.
These anxieties, however, are based on much deeper fears about ourselves and how we value ourselves. Being mindful through open and close patterns of communication increases our awareness and insight.
Our attitude toward another person can blind us to what he or she is trying to get across to us, and we begin to see that our communication style affects our perceptions and the way we show up for ourselves and others.
Practicing mindful communication brings us face to face with our anxieties about relationships. These anxieties are rooted in much deeper, the core fears about ourselves, about our value as human beings. If we are willing to relate to these core fears, each of our relationships can be transformed into a path of self-discovery. Simply being mindful of our open and closed patterns of conversation will increase our awareness and insight. We begin to notice the effect our communication style has on other people. We start to see that our attitude toward a person can blind us to who he or she really is. (mindful.org)
Note: When we speak about communication this includes verbal and nonverbal communication – body language and gestures can say a lot of what is on someone’s
Develop effective combination skills – Mindful Communication in 2 parts
Mindful communication is when two people interact and communicate with each other with full attention, and understanding of the other person. This type of communication allows for effective two-way and multi-directional conversations between individuals who are having healthy relationships.
Mindful communication is when we communicate with others in a way that allows us to receive information from other people. This allows us to understand how they feel and what their reactions might be to what we express.
Mindful communication also helps users to be more open and honest with themselves, which results in better relationships and less stress since they feel comfortable speaking their minds instead of harboring thoughts or feelings.
When we can communicate effectively it can have a positive effect on our personal lives as we strengthen and build our emotional intelligence – we become more in tune with how we are feeling and we also become more in tune with other people’s emotions as well as their reactions and where the reaction might be coming from in a given moment.
Communicating mindfully means we need to practice two things – mindful listening as well as mindful speaking. Often people focus on the speaking more than the listening.
This can also be referred to as active listening.
So what is the main purpose of active listening skills and why should we care about this?
Effects of Mindfulness – Mindful listening – What is active listening skill?
Active listening def. – An active listener is someone who actively listens to others. They do not only hear what other people say, they also hear how the person says it. If you are an active listener, you will feel more comfortable communicating with everyone as you gain a deeper understanding of the information you are receiving to formulate the most appropriate response.
An active listener is someone who understands what the other person is saying while avoiding interruptions during the conversation. This also increases the memory of what was spoken about as it draws attention to the details of the conversation.
Being an active listener can nourish a positive relationship.
A great way to help others feel comfortable when talking is to ask open questions.
An active listener is someone who asks open questions to help his or her partner understand what he or she needs to do next. This is especially effective when the other person is asking for advice – by asking them questions instead of giving them answers you are prompting them to trust themselves and come up with their solutions.
Active listening shows empathy and respect and makes sure that the conversation is clear and focused. If you want to become an effective listener, try these techniques: listen actively, keep eye contact, show genuine interest in the other person’s perspective, avoid interrupting, ask clarifying questions, end conversations gracefully when appropriate, and thank others for their input.
Listening is an important skill. You should use it to get information, understand people, enjoy conversations, and learn about new things. Research shows that people remember only 25% – 50% of what they hear.
Active listening is the first step towards mindful communication – intuitively it will make your response more mindful too. This skill can be very helpful and important towards mindful communication in the workplace as well as communicating in a relationship when conflict comes up.
Other active listener examples can include:
- when you are trying to deal with an issue your child might be having
- finding a suitable way to reprimand this child through non-violent communication for kids
- if you want to practice mindfulness in leader roles.
So let’s see… what are practical ways that we can improve on this skill through the construct of mindfulness?
Effective communication elements – 5 ways to become better at active listening and build communication skills
If you repeat the words in your head while the person says them, you’ll be more likely to remember what they said. When you hear them repeat themselves you should make sure he knows you heard them by nodding or smiling. Don’t talk over them, interrupt them, or give answers before they finish speaking. Letting them know you listened to them will make them feel valued.
Active listening techniques
1. Give the person your undivided attention
- make frequent eye contact – shows interest and quality of care.
- Adjust your posture to face the speaker.
- Try to block out distractions.
- Remember – even when we are not speaking we are communicating so be aware of your body language (eg. tilting the head slightly could show you are interested). This is known as nonverbal communication.
2. Show your interest and engagement
- Nod from time to time.
- Smile and use facial expression rather than your words.
- Body language, non-verbal cues, and posture should be open to indicate you are receiving what they are saying and creating a safe space for it to land.
- Don’t be completely silent – small verbal cues can be encouraging for the speaker to continue and not feel like they are talking to nobody.
3. Reflect on what is being said
- Ask questions to get a better understanding of this person’s perspective – after they are done speaking.
- Try and keep personal beliefs, judgments, and stories out of your comments – this takes away from what the speaker is trying to express at the moment.
- Summarise what the other person has just told you eg. “What I’m hearing is… am I understanding you correctly…” – repeating what the person has just told you ensures them that you were being observant to what they have just shared.
4. Avoid interrupting
- Try not to ask questions while the other person is still speaking it might come across that you don’t care about what they are trying to say but rather care more about your own input.
- Interrupting can often feel like it is coming from a very selfish place as the listener now shows they instead want to be heard.
- Leave counter-arguments for when they are done speaking.
- Replace verbal cues with nonverbal communication like body language and posture.
5. Respect and understand the information shared
- Always be respectful in your response by seeing the story from their perspective.
- You can of course still share your opinions but do this in a less confronting way.
- You are gaining information through active listening not trying to get your point across.
If you find yourself responding emotionally to what someone said, say so. And ask for more information: “I may not be understanding you correctly, and I find myself taking what you said personally. What I thought you just said is XXX. Is that what you meant?”
The second major component of effective communication is mindful speaking. The goal here is to stay on topic while also paying attention to how others are responding to what you’re saying. By observing others you can clarify your message as needed. (sigmaassessmentsystems.com)
When we speak mindlessly, we may wander off-topic or repeat ourselves. We must be aware of this when we speak so that we can avoid these problems. A mindless speaker also relies on a reactive way of communication.
Reactivity, especially when dealing with conflict or an emotionally charged environment, is never helpful…
A mindful speaker pays close attention to what they say. They make an effort to be concise and direct, providing some examples to illustrate their points when appropriate. They share what’s most important to say. They share truthfully and honestly, being kind and respectful.
This also helps to build trust and encourage others to be honest as well.
A good indication of if we are speaking mindfully is how others respond to our speech. We should try to stay on topic while still being attentive to how others react to what we say.
We should try not to talk about things that aren’t relevant to our conversation.
Our speech should be clear and concise. We should avoid making hurtful or unnecessary statements. Repetitions and other distractions should try to be avoided.
To become a more mindful speaker, pay close attention to what you are saying. Be concise, direct, and precise. Provide examples when necessary. Show respect for others by being honest and authentic. This will help you be more effective as a communicator.
It all comes down to your intention – what is the intention of what you are trying to communicate to this other person and how would you like them to receive it?
Remember we cannot control other people’s reactions to what we say but it is in how we convey the message that can increase the prediction of the psychological reaction of others. This is especially useful when having difficult conversations.
If one person is communicating mindfully it sets an atmosphere for the other person to respond mindfully too. The effects of mindfulness on communication can change so many aspects of our lives.
Once again as with anything relating to mindful living, it comes down to awareness – awareness of self which then translates into awareness of others. The role of mindfulness is huge within communicating and the effects of mindfulness are vast.
Practicing awareness towards our feelings, emotions, thoughts, and intentions allows us to feel safe within ourselves to express this which then creates a safe space for others to do the same.
Practicing mindful communication in all areas of life can be so beneficial to how you show up in this world and simultaneously how you learn to understand the world and the people in it better.
It creates a positive impact for all – the more people learn to communicate without reactivity the more empathy society will show towards each other, the more positive relationship forms and the less conflict will arise.
Mindful communication builds a happier, more connected, and consciously aware society.